Apalachicola leaders honored for service

City Commissioner Jimmy Elliott, left, is presented a pin for his service by Sharon Berrian, associa Photo available for purchase

City Commissioner Jimmy Elliott, left, is presented a pin for his service by Sharon Berrian, associate director for membership development for Florida League of Cities, Inc.

David Adlerstein
Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 02:21 PM.

Two longtime leaders of Apalachicola city government were surprised by honors at the regular city commission meeting Dec. 3.

Mayor Van Johnson was speechless after his colleagues voted unanimously to rename the former Apalachicola High School campus, now operating as a center for community services, after him. At the conclusion of the meeting, longtime city commissioner Jimmy Elliott received a framed resolution by the Florida League of Cities in recognition of his 30 years of service as an elected official.

At the outset of the meeting, City Administrator Betty Taylor Webb addressed the commissioners as a private citizen, requesting the community service center be renamed the Mayor Van W. Johnson, Sr., Recreation and Community Service Complex.

“A youth center was a campaign promise of the mayor and we now have that out there and the mayor also has an office out there,” she said. “We’re setting a trend in that area. It’s the first time I know of that a mayor has had an office.”

The request met with unanimous approval by the commissioners. “You kept that from me,” Johnson told Webb.

In an interview Tuesday at his office at the community services building, the mayor said he was virtually speechless at the time. “I’m still trying to grasp it all,” he said. “I was surprised, honored and definitely surprised.”

Portions of the former high school campus deeded five years ago by the school board to the city include the school building, field house and gymnasium. Leased to the city were the football field, and softball and baseball diamonds.

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